India news March 22, 2013

Neutral venues for Ranji knockouts being considered

The BCCI technical committee, in its first meeting chaired by Anil Kumble, was in favour of scheduling Ranji Trophy knockout matches at neutral venues, and longer gaps between matches, although no decisions were taken in Mumbai.

"Everybody was receptive [to the idea]. More than the neutral venues, what has been recommended is a suggestive list of venues," said Kumble, who replaced Sourav Ganguly as the head of the technical committee last October. "In the coming season we don't have much of international cricket in India, [so] it is important to identify the neutral venues."

In the captains and coaches conclave on March 5, the teams had been equivocal in demanding that Ranji league games to be spaced out. They felt a three-day gap between league games was too small to recover. Kumble said the technical committee was also thinking on similar lines.

"We felt at the start of the season a three-day break is good enough," Kumble said. "But in the latter part of the season, we will certainly look at a minimum of a four-day break. There was also a discussion about the weather in various parts of India. Winter in the north, east and certain parts of central; and certain parts of south has little bit of late monsoon. So, that was also discussed.

"This was just a preliminary meeting. We did discuss about the outcome of the captains and coaches conclave. We will soon have a meeting in April and at that time we will get into what needs to be recommended to the BCCI for the coming season."

The meeting was attended by all the members of the newly-formed committee, except for chairman of selectors Sandeep Patil, who was in Delhi for India's fourth Test against Australia. Besides the other committee members, including Kumble, Vinay Lamba, MSK Prasad, Deep Dasgupta, Shashikant Khandkar, Mahendra Rajdev, Debasis Mohanty and VK Ramaswamy, BCCI's general manager (cricket development) Ratnakar Shetty also attended the meeting.

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo